editing

Cats, Dogs, and Cleaning

This month wasn’t filled with as much new writing as I’d hoped. Dread was pervasive; who knew sore winners would turn out to be lousy losers? I’m so sick of that noise. Perhaps that’s why I’ve returned to re-watching Gilmore Girls and hunkering down for another round of edits on a novel and some flashes.

The day before the election, a flock of bluebirds appeared in the south lawn. They didn’t get close enough to photograph well, but I enjoyed the rare sighting.

We also had a surprise visit from a troupe of kittens. One splatted. This one is still around, but shy. Another was injured, but I was able to catch it. Once in my arms, it turned into a love bug. I kept it alive overnight and due to “foster” being checked instead of “foster to adopt” on the SPCA form, the tech who treated it now owns that cat instead of me. Lesson learned, there…

Thanksgiving: The Meal was not photographed. This is the table, that was the wine:

I wasn’t expecting to be nominated for anything this year, and I was fine. Nina Fosati was nominated for a Pushcart and a Best of the Net and I was thrilled to be close to a nominee but then, the amazing Cathy Ulrich at Milk Candy Review put “The Thinnest of Veneers” up for Best Microfictions. I was speechless, and so darn grateful.  

Husband has continued with the basement clean up.

You see this corner? I’ve never been in this corner. He hasn’t been in this corner in decades. And now, there are shelves…

Tomorrow, the last month of this long year begins. Kobie has a surgery scheduled.

I guess I forget to tell him. Well, now I have to talk him down. I never should have told him about my blog.

Right, well, thank you for stopping by and for the read! I appreciate you! Cheers!

Seeing spring flowers, George Saunders, and progress

Today, I was rudely woken by the racket of heavy machinery. It interrupted a dream conversation I was having with an old friend of mine named J. P. We were discussing the cuff links he bought – they were more expensive than the suit he was buried in. I’d gone to bed last night trying to find the “structure” for the novel I’m working on and had been toying with the ramifications of when the mother dies in the story. I think all of my novels involve a MC with a dead mother. If the mother is alive at the beginning of the new one, is that progress?

I’m writing this in view of these lovely flowers from a person whose book I’m beta reading/editing. When they hate the comments I have and the insights I’ll offer, at least I’ll have picture of this beauty. As a writer, I know that only thing I’m hoping to hear is, “It’s perfect! No changes needed!” when someone (Nina Fosati) reads my work. As an editor, I rarely read anything that doesn’t need a tweak or two…or much more.

Babel’s season ended last Thursday with George Saunders. I enjoyed his talk and the following conversation with Barbara Cole immensely.

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Many thanks to Nina Fosati for arranging and driving there this year. Speaking of driving, the maple dropped red bits on Ben so it looked like he had measles. Actually, he needs another part and will be back in the shop next week. So I guess that’s more “not driving” related than “driving.”

I’ve never had a dog I had to take to a groomers before. They do wonderful magic. Kobie went from this:

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To this:

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The transformation was huge and quick, unlike spring where the changes take time.

And the kitchen renovation. Man, that is taking time, too.

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Ah well, I’m enjoying it all while it’s happening and if it’s possible, I extend the length of beauty as much as I can. Perhaps that’s why I’m dawdling on the new book. It’s a good theory, don’t you think? Beats the easier to believe one where laziness is to blame.

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Thanks for stopping by and for the read!

Me, being me (edited and redacted)

Me, being me, needed a break from blogging. Besides the usual allotment of year-end form rejections, a lot of interactions have troubled me. Some hurtful things were said during a family visit – not the first time this individual was insensitive – but upsetting accusations and backhanded “compliments” nonetheless. The library in its infinite wisdom – after the idiot John verbally attacked yet another woman – decided that instead of dismissing the abusive man, two people needed to be on a shift instead of just one. And then there’s boys I went to high school with on Facebook and strangers writing to the Buffalo News. So yeah, I’m a little sick of opinionated men right now.

I’ve been reading a lot of books. Some have been recently released and others I’d heard about but never got around to reading. Vox, by Christina Dalcher, The Glitch, by Elisabeth Cohen, Trout Fishing in America, by Richard Brautigan, Fates and Furies, by Lauren Groff, and currently, There There, by Tommy Orange. What I’m finding is that checking books out of the Erie County Library helps get them read. Who knew deadlines work? Well, I did in regards to zines and contests, but I haven’t been paying attention to writing deadlines lately. I’ve also been doing editing for people I know which is adding another insight into what works in writing and what doesn’t.

The last few write-ins at Spot Coffee have gone into a new book. I’ve been able to sit there and write over a thousand words at a time toward it. It feels too easy, so I’m not trusting it – or working on it otherwise.

I do feel this is more of a “filling up” time in my writing life, and I’m fine with that. The two pieces I’ve finished writing have been speeches. One I’ll deliver at the next board meeting. That’s all the fun here.

Thanks for the read!

 

 

 

Weeks Late, Full of Thanks, How ’bout You?

What I find lovely – yet frustrating – is the cycles of writing. I resent it when I need to write but I edit. Editing will take over when I’ve accumulated new books. Curled up in my chair, I’ll be happily reading when writing calls. Even now, I feel a tug…

Someone on Twitter made a joke about a reading retreat and I honestly think that should be a thing. I have Gina’s draft and Jim’s in my queue, but then this lovely volume arrived in my mailbox:

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The two prose poems I’ve read so far are intricate and interesting. I can’t wait to finish reading the rest. Randall Brown is an amazing writer and so is Alex Pruteanu. His latest book is on its way, as is Tamara Grisanti’s Coffin Bell Anthology. Plus, I received my contributor copy of Montana Mouthful – and it came with stickers! (Thank you Jasmine Lamb!)

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Domesticity doesn’t overtake me that often but when it does….yikes! Thanksgiving had me push a boundary – I don’t know why – but I made real crust for a pecan pie – which turned out fabulously. I also roasted a turkey breast. Yeah, I know, it’s not that impressive, but still, I thought it was picture worthy a week ago…

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It’s hard to believe Saturday will be the first of December. I’m proud to say I have a story up at (mac)ro(mic) which touches upon late spring flowers and I just reviewed the galleys of my story in Solidago’s Initiation Issue about a late summer exchange between an Aunt and her niece. That’s another thing I love/hate about writing – how the stories are written, accepted, appear out of season sometimes, but the timing always feels right.

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Thanks for stopping by and for the read!

Draft #whatever is done, on to other things

Chyo has my book on her Kindle and she’s killing me by either not reading it or waiting to tell me what she thinks. Regardless, I’m not sending it to XO Man until I hear from her. That book has wrecked me, but I feel it’s over–at least for now so I’m off to write other things–including this blog post which is a week late–mia culpa. I was in an editing/polishing zone and I really couldn’t break free until just the other day.

Everything was left to slide, including the garden. Yesterday, I spent most of the day out there and was pleasantly surprised that the minor love I’ve been giving it is paying off–the weeds aren’t out of control and the slugs haven’t devoured my pepper plants as of yet. I hate those slugs. They have an entire yard to graze upon but year after year they hunger for my poor peppers.

The irises have come and gone, but today, two of the peonies were in bloom. Here’s one:

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The baby pines either thrived or died. I don’t know, it was bad timing when those saplings arrived. I’m grateful my brother-in-law was here that weekend to help with the planting. This one is the best looker of the remaining bunch:one

And the wisteria is beginning to bloom:

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Otherwise, it’s a hot sticky day and the last of the plants in the greenhouse were taken outside so I’ll probably clean that room, maybe finish Gina Miani’s Avalon, get further into Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch. Hell, I might even start a story for The Molotov Cocktail Monster Flash contest. Maybe I’ll even paint.

Thanks for checking in!

 

(*These are my Creekside Reflections. Your experiences may vary.)

Short, Sweet and Hopeful

Welcome! I hope this first day of March finds you well. I’m fresh off two writing competition losses, but letting the disappointment fizzle out by plunging back in to Ellie’s Elephants. A friend of mine is going over the last draft and providing detailed notes and a woman I met at the Writer’s Workshop is also offering her insight. Both are picking up on little quirks that need to be altered before I try another go at representation.

None of the notes are huge which I’m taking as a good sign. On top of that, at the end of Chapter Four, I found the following aside from the detailed note provider, “It’s good–I like the way it builds all the way through. I love the humor. Best Seller! I want 1 2/3 %.” Such a comedian…

As to submitting, I’ve been slacking there, though I did get two sent out on Monday.

The boards on Zoetrope were down to less than 50. I freaked and threw Foxes on the Lake on the read page. I’ve gotten two reviews so far. Once again, I got assigned to a newbie. At least this one sounded like he read the story, but the last one taught me an unfortunate lesson: Until they are on there a while, do not speak to them. The last one’s cockiness dripped off the screen and tainted my Zoetrope experience. On the other hand, I was thrilled to find a review from Cezarija Abartis. I was not expecting her to review me, but she offered great advice and I’m so grateful for that. If you want a short story collection that will transport you, I do suggest hers. Nice Girls and Other Stories was fantastic.

Other than that, there’s been a whole lot of not drinking going on here, much reading, several dreams about seedlings and the garden and the occasional nightmare over errant commas. A calm before a storm? Now that I think about it, it has been unusually quiet around here for the last two weeks…

* These are just my reflections. Your experience may vary.

Spent

Alright, I’ll fess up. I didn’t make the NaNo goal this year. I could beat myself up, but I won’t. Part of it was that NaNo changed its notifications and some other bits that worked in the past didn’t work the same way this year. Plus, the two best ever ML’s dropped out and let the Buffalo group be led by N. Seriously, that’s her name. N and I never clicked. Sarah & Madeline were such great ML’s, so ‘spoiled me’ didn’t want to go to the write-ins and midway parties and the kickoffs because they weren’t going to be there. I had myself somewhat convinced to go to Perry to the write-in at Burlingham Books on the 20th, but that didn’t pan out.

On top of that, I went to my first workshop. It was on 5 November and the presenters were Mary Akersand Kim Chinquee. I had the best time! I learned so much! It was SO awesome. I’m beyond grateful to Husband for taking me to The Hodge Podge in North Tonawanda–what a brilliant choice for the workshop location. It was beautiful and inspiring. I’m so grateful I had the chance to attend.

So now you’re thinking I must have been slacking since I wasn’t creating new work? Oh contraire!

I worked my ass off this month. While still piling words into the latest NaNo novel (and had I gotten a fat letter from NEA instead of the thin one, I so would have changed gears since ‘Finding Forest’ was the project I wanted the NEA grant I applied for to fund.) I got my entry form for the Minotaur Books/ First Crime Novel Competition and dug into revising ‘Campus Crimes.’

Did I say revise? Oh, I hacked away. I took that beauty from 101,842 words down to 81,843. As Marko Fong commented, I was doing a reverse NaNo.

It wore me out. Strung me out. Made me hate the person I was when I wrote ‘Campus Crimes’ since I didn’t know squat then. (Not that I know anything now, mind you…)

Anyway, I slashed away, printed it out and sent it to a reader who had it delivered to him on Tuesday. Now, it’s in his hands. Could I have done better? Yes. The point is that I made the revision a priority and reached a deadline.

Goals and deadlines can be interchangeable, but sometimes it takes a person literally sitting themselves down to figure out which actions are most important. That’s what I had to do. That’s what I did. I think I made the right choice.

Neglecting NaNo also allowed me to concentrate on other contests I wanted to enter, and after I wrap this post up, I’m off to tackle the Buffalo News contest, cause you know, I‘m not competitive enough…

Last night, I attended a Grand Opening/Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for a bar and be the designated driver in exchange for the drive up to North Tonawanda. Seemed more than fair. It was pretty alien though. Husband turned into chatty Cathy social butterfly and I spent the night mostly alone. I mean, I was sitting at a table with some very nice people, I’m sure, but the band was right there and so conversation wasn’t possible without shouting. I still have traces of a malingering cold/flu. I didn’t want to shout.

I relearned two lessons though. 1) ALWAYS bring a book wherever you go–if I have one I never get to read it, if I don’t I wish I had. 2) Trim Husband’s moustache if eating/drinking will be done in public–self explanatory.

Ah well, I’m sure the experience will find a place in a story somewhere some day…

Speaking of which…I AM SO PSYCHED!!!! The Amazing, Awesome, Incredible Copyeditor Extraordinaire–Teresa Tucker will soon be done with Ellie’s Elephants. I am SO excited to get my baby back. I’ve missed her so much and am eager to see what she looks like now. I bet she’s even prettier than I imagine her to be, and I thought she was a great looking baby when I sent her to the equivalent of ‘finishing’ school.  SO PSYCHED!

*These are just my reflections. Your experience may vary.